Mark Driscoll: "Meek. Mild. As If"
There's been a considerable amount of press in the last year about pastor Mark Driscoll. This 35-year-old pastor is head of the largest church in Washington state. Known as the hipster pastor, Driscoll also runs Club Paradox, an indie music club that has hosted over 700 rock shows with headlining bands that include college radio favorites including Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, and Low. Everyone from Christianity Today to Blender has reported on the pastor, largely without criticism.
Given all the glowing press about Driscoll, I assumed the pastor would be at least somewhat progressive when I spoke with him last December. I was distressed to find the opposite to be true. Driscoll is a homophobe and a misogynist. He also believes that a majority of the population is "predestined" to burn eternally in a "smoldering" place of "torment with burning sulfur."
It's no coincidence that the shirt Driscoll used to illustrate his post contains the phrase "Meek. Mild. As If." That's because Driscoll believes that "Jesus is a God who hates." Jesus was no "limp-wristed hippie" who came to earth "wearing a robe like some fairy" says Driscoll. Here are some other choice quotes from the pastor:
"God hates you... God can't even look at us because he is so disgusted… You have been told that God is loving, gracious, merciful, kind, compassionate, wonderful, and good... That is a lie... God looks down and says 'I hate you, you are my enemy, and I will crush you.'"
"A pacifist has a lot of difficulty reconciling pacifism with scripture."
"After church tonight you will go home and you will eat chicken, not human, because of the spread of Christianity... go to a country where there hasn’t been the spread of Christianity and they’re having human for dinner."
To set the record straight on this scary, backwards preacher, here's an excerpt from my book The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right. [After the Jump]
Mark Driscoll: The Emerging Fundamentalist
"God hates you," Pastor Mark Driscoll tells his congregation, the largest one in the state of Washington. Addressing a decidedly hip Gen-X crowd of Christian scenesters, Driscoll warned his congregation that not everyone was going to like his sermon:
"God can't even look at us because he is so disgusted... You have been told that God is loving, gracious, merciful, kind, compassionate, wonderful, and good... That is a lie... God looks down and says 'I hate you, you are my enemy, and I will crush you."
A few minutes into the sermon-which spoke of God's "hatred" and "anger" over a hundred times-Driscoll confessed to his adoring young crowd that some people might be too offended to come back after hearing his fire-and-brimstone message.
Unfortunately, losing a few members is not a big concern for the thirty-something pastor. His Seattle-based Mars Hill Church has grown at a rate of 70% per year since opening in 1996. According to Driscoll, they'd added an additional 800 membersmainly trendy twenty-somethings "tapped into Seattle's underground scene"in the previous month. He's more concerned about where to seat the impending overflow than offending his audience.
Seattle is generally better known for its heathens and wiccans than for its evangelicals. But Mars Hill Church has an appealing hook bringing in the large crowds in this decidedly Blue State town. They operate a secular (albeit booze-free) "hardcore, punk, and indie" nightclub on the same grounds as the church, known as Paradox. They've hosted over 700 shows with headlining bands that include college radio favorites Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, and Low. "This is an indie town," say Driscoll. "And Mars Hill is an indie church."
There's never any preaching or proselytizing at Paradox. Driscoll doesn't want to pull a "bait and switch," he says. Unfortunately, the bait and switch of Mars Hill Church is Driscoll himself. He goes out of his way to seem hip and appealing, but the intolerant doomsday gospel he preaches conjures up visions of a tragic Great White show. Keep your children away from him before he brings out the strychnine cocktails or takes to the stage at Paradox singing his own doctored version of "Jesus Loves You"-like he did recently during a sermon at Mars Hill. "Jesus hates me, it is so," Dricoll sung mocking what he believes to be the song's inherent naivety. He's a Paradox indeed. And by "paradox" we mean "douchebag."
Most Inane Mark Driscoll Quote
"After church tonight you will go home and you will eat chicken, not human, because of the spread of Christianity... go to a country where there hasn't been the spread of Christianity and they're having human for dinner."
A New Kind of Falwell: The Emerging Fundamentalist
Driscoll's says he hates the "F" word, which surprised us given his fondness for its derivatives, "friggin" and "freakin.'" "I'm a freakin' bible thumper," he claims. Still, the "F" word Driscoll is referring to is fundamentalist. The word reminds him of "backwoods preachers" obsessed with alcohol and sexual morays. Driscoll's got no problem with alcohol in moderation and when it comes to sex he's lectured married couples on blow jobs and "how to have a good orgasm." It's a topic that we're delighted, frankly, that fundamentalists like Jerry Falwell have never broached.
But Driscoll's appeal to the young people of Seattle seems to reside in this unorthodox breed of fundamentalism. "I'm theologically conservative and culturally liberal," he says. "Frankly I think it confuses a lot of people." His description of himself all sounds perfectly appealing. That is until you hear Driscoll claim that Jesus was no "limp-wristed hippie" who came to earth "wearing a robe like some fairy," as he did in a recent sermon. Not surprisingly, Driscoll has been described as a frat boy too.
Driscoll Says He's Not a Fundamentalist. You Decide...
Says he's seen possessed people "totally overtaken" by demons "levitate off the ground."
Believes the bible literally and says homosexuality is a sin.
Doesn't believe in evolution and invited The Discovery Institute to lecture at his church.
Refuses to let women become elders church elders and says they should get spousal approval from their dads before marrying.
Claims "Jesus is a God who hates."
Believes most people are predestined by God to spend eternity "smoldering" in hell, a place of "torment with burning sulfur."
Presumably enjoys stepping on flowers and throwing rocks at bunny rabbits.